Maggie Bergman

Maggie Bergman


All my life I’ve wanted to make jewellery – except, I wasn’t even aware of it! I played with beads and found materials to make earrings and necklaces, same as most girls I suppose. But when I grew up, got married and started developing as an artist, trying my hand at all kinds of art, that the penny should have dropped.

Anything I was ‘into’ at the time, was transformed into jewellery in one way or another, Ceramics, Leatherwork, Resin….. Candle making (don’t laugh, it got me started being in business for myself:)) But generally I went along with the main theme of what I was doing, making pots, etching etc.

In the end it was printmaking that finally tipped me over the edge, creating small etching plates in copper, the prints were nice enough, but the plates were fabulous, at least in my eyes…. (my teacher didn’t agree with me cutting them up and making them into jewellery)

I started to learn how to make silver jewellery then, I felt very challenged not being able to work with metal and having no skills to transform my ideas into wearable pieces.

I loved drawing, sculpture and design at art school, I didn’t care too much about all the other things we had to learn, art history was not my best subject, I don’t tend to reference the past very much, give me the future, and a bit of Sci-Fi  thrown into the mix and I’m happy (Avatar is my favorite movie to date, a visual feast!)

At art college I always got in trouble for working too small, A4 or letter sized work was not the thing to do, bigger was better, except for me of course:) Ha! they should see the scale I work at now!

When I started to make lamp-worked glass beads I finally committed to  jewellery full-time. I loved working with glass – fused glass & enamels. Enameling (which, of course, is glass on metal) is my favourite thing to do and the thing I come back to time and again. Whether I use the beautiful transparent Japanese enamels that will play with the light as it reflects through the layers of colour and bounces off the silver beneath, or opaque enamels on copper, for stronger, more graphic effects, the process is fascinating and very enjoyable.

I use different processes to get the textures I want, from Solar plates to carving polymer clay, or linoleum, or pressing different materials into  metal clay.


Enamel on Silver - Maggie Bergman - The inspiration and the final work, can you still see the influence?

Enamel on Silver – The inspiration and the final work, can you still see the influence?

I’m drawn to nature’s textures and patterns. I live close to five temperate rain-forests, and on my walks I notice things like the twisting vines, the pattern of leaves against the sky, contrasts – shiny leaves against our dark-red, volcanic soil or lichen on rocks.

In the city, I’m inspired by linear forms and industrial patterns: architecture, skyscrapers, bridges. Capturing all this has never been easier, the iPhone is the one camera I have with me at all times and by the time I get home, all my shots have been automatically transferred to my iPad and ready to be developed into jewellery ideas!

Brunswick Bracelet - Maggie Bergman - Silver - Paper - Resin

Brunswick Bracelet – Silver – Paper – Resin

Working digitally has probably been the biggest change I’ve made to my design practice in recent years, I don’t use a physical journal as much as I used to, time restrictions and the immediacy of designing and drawing on the iPad seem to work better for me now.

In the studio or at home, I have all my information at my finger tips, colour palettes for enamels are worked out and are ready to put into action when I get to the bench!

When I’m working in the studio, I’m not aware of time passing; the creative process just consumes me. I’m happiest starting out with just a broad idea for a piece; preferring to interact with the materials as I work, let them impose themselves on my design to a certain extent.

What most excites me is playing with a variety of materials, getting them to work together and then combine them with metal.

When all these different materials come together and work as a whole, I just love that, or, when I invent a whole new process and it all works even better than I imagined… that’s just magic!